WHY YOU MAY CONSIDER PRAYING TO LITTLE NELLIE FOR BACK PAIN AND SPINAL INJURIES
Once when the young girl was tending to the children, Nellie fell to the floor and her back was hideously injured: the blow of hitting the ground curved her spine, and the bashed back bone stabbed a mass of most sensitive nerves. The young girl's level of culpability is in question, did Nellie fall from her arms? Did the girl drop her in a fit of exasperation? But after the accident, the girl kept the fall to herself and hence no one knew that Nellie needed urgent medical attention, and no one knew of Nellie's painfully crooked back. This girl came in for stinging criticism by an early biographer of Nellie's, Margaret Gibbons who flatly called this young girl, "a coward", of whom she wrote, "she was gravely guilty in having kept silent about it...she feared to face a little unpleasantness." As you are about to see, Nellie endured the unpleasantness and pain.
Four months after her mother's death, Nellie aged 3 years and 9 months was placed into the care of The Good Shepherd Sisters in Sunday's Well, a northern neighborhood over Cork City. Nellie came with her sister, Mary who was a few years older. In the early days of Nellie's arrival, the sister observed that she walked and toddled with a most unsteady gait with her arms outstretched before her. They presumed it was the regulation boots that were too tough for her tender toddler toes. The sisters bought Nellie a pair of handsome slipper shoes and Sister Immaculata knitted her a pair of rose-pink socks. They dressed up Nellie all in white and put on the soft shoes and pink socks, and led her through the convent so she could be admired.
Nellie joined Sister Immaculata's class for lessons, but she found sitting upright for long periods a torture, and she wailed and stamped her foot through the lessons. One day Nellie was particularly obstreperous. To punish Nellie, Sister Immaculata started to remove Nellie's new soft shoes and socks, but to her amazement Nellie helped her take off the shoes and put on the old boots even though it symbolized an unjust sanction. Nellie couldn't explain the pain she was in, but because her crying and stamping had caused St Immaculata a certain annoyance, Nellie came up to her (tiny Nellie was as tall as her knee) and grabbed at the folds of her nun's habit, Nellie said contritely, "Modder, I sorry." This melted Immaculata's heart and she restored the soft socks and shoes to Nellie's feet.
But Sister Immaculata remained perplexed as to why Nellie found sitting still an agony and had to summon all her strength to stifle her sobs during class. The girl who slept next to Nellie was called Mary Long, or "Longie" as Nellie dubbed her, and she reported to Sister Immaculata that she often heard Nellie crying out in pain during the night. Sister Immaculata sought out Miss Hall, the nurse, and the notion that Nellie had back trouble dawned on them. Nellie was subject to a close examination and they discovered she had a curved spine, and so Nellie was moved to the infirmary and was no longer brought to the classroom for lessons. She was given her breakfast in bed every morning, and at the end of the year when she received Holy Communion for the first time she was carried to the altar and held while the priest placed the Eucharist on her tongue.
|The infirmary where Nellie lived|
I invite you to pray the prayer for the canonization of Little Nellie.